I seem to have more fruits and vegetables around lately. Which is great, other than the fact that – as I’ve previously mentioned – I hate letting food go to waste and so I start to have anxiety about using up fresh produce before they go bad. This coincides with some weeks where I’m collecting data at people’s homes and driving more than normal. Therefore a lot of cooking recently has been based on “what food do we have in the kitchen?” to avoid both wasting food and spending more time in the car.
Nick used to love the challenge of coming into my kitchen (at the time, an unfamiliar territory) and cooking an amazing dinner based on whatever random ingredients I had hanging around. I can see why he liked that- it’s fun following your instincts instead of a recipe. The other night we threw together grilled poblano peppers stuffed with black quinoa, tomatoes, and mozzarella, and topped with smoked gouda and parmesan (lots of leftover ingredients from last weekend’s pizza). Unfortunately I was not anticipating a blog-worthy dinner that night, so I wasn’t prepared to take pictures. But as luck would have it, we ended up making another version today, taking advantage of some steamed crabs sitting in the fridge from my parents’ neighborhood crab feast last night.
There are no precise measurements for this, or even close. Worst case scenario, prepare a bit more filling than you think you need, and then it’s prepared to make more stuffed peppers the next day, or later that night, if you decide you didn’t have enough.
First we halved the poblanos and cleaned out the ribs and seeds. (Latex gloves recommended for this part- the day before our wedding Nick handled about 100 chiles and ended up soaking his hands in milk, water, aloe, etc. for the rest of the night…. Fortunately he recovered by the following day.)
Then I spooned some cooked quinoa (probably about a teaspoon to a tablespoon, depending on the size of the pepper; I used black since we had it at home) into each pepper half. Next, I scattered a few pieces of diced tomato and cubed mozzarella (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch) in the peppers, over the quinoa, but not so much that the quinoa is completely covered.
I then tightly packed crab meat in each pepper, almost filling it entirely and covering all of the cheese, tomato, and quinoa. Nick decided since we were doing crabs, it needed some Old Bay seasoning, so he sprinkled that on the crab before topping it with diced jalapenos and shredded cheddar cheese.
Nick then grilled the peppers at 450 degrees until the cheese was melted and the peppers were slightly charred.
This makes an excellent lunch or dinner. And based on our experience the other night, I can assure you that the peppers are just as good without the crab meat. Just use a bit more quinoa, tomato, and mozzarella to fill the peppers. I also recommend using smoked gouda on top- it goes sooo perfectly with the charred peppers. Really, the peppers are kind of a blank canvas for whatever ingredients you want to fill them with.